How Did Your Preemie Do in Daycare/school??? - Health Related

Updated on June 03, 2013
M.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN
21 answers

This question is not for babies born just a couple weeks early. I know they are considered preemies but I have heard they do as well as full term babies.

My son was 7.5 weeks early. So he was very little when he was born(4.6 pounds) and had a NICU stay of 25 days. He was breathing on his own , had no complications, just had to grow and gain weight.

So he started daycare when he was around a year old. He started falling sick very often. Summer was ok, but winter was bad. He started getting ear infections with almost every cold, would stop eating. He used to come down with fever often too. I had discussed with his pediatrician , and he always told me it's just him being exposed to various germs at daycare. Nothing to do with his prematurity.

When he was a little over 1.5 years old , he caught the dreaded RSV. He was older and managed pretty well. He was completely fine in a week or so. But the whole episode of him having such high temps, neb treatments etc made me feel so very guilty (I was always very guilty of his premature birth - normal pregnancy, went into preterm labor for reasons I still don't know). I quit my job, stayed home with him.

He was doing great the past 1.5 years I am home with him. I agree I am overly cautious with him. I take him everywhere crowded places or not but always use a hand sanitizer once we are done playing there.

He just turned 3 and I felt he is much older now. So he started preschool last month. He only goes 2 half days. It's only been a month and he was sick 3 times. fever 3 times, cold and cough, ear infection and has lost 3 pounds now. He has always been low weight(eats well, but doesn't gain weight - he is super active and we parents are low weight too) but now after he lost 3 pounds, he seems to be all bones , zero fat in his body. He now weighs only 27-28 pounds.

So I am confused what to do? Maybe his immunity is not strong enough yet? We love his pediatrician but he always asks me to expose him to everything, He had asked me it wasn't necessary I quit my job but I did. Now he is asking me to continue with preschool, his swimming classes which he started recently as well. He tells me I can't keep my son in a bubble forever. I agree, and I am giving him a normal upbringing. My son is very healthy and fine, we had no problems with his prematurity except for those NICU days. And it's only when he goes to daycare/school environment , he falls sick. I have enrolled him in playgroups, toddler classes, parent-child classes , I take him to zoo, museums, library and everywhere else but he doesn't fall sick. I know he is exposed to germs in these places too , maybe it's because I try to wash his hands everytime when we leave?

I want to know how different has your experience been when your preemie kids started school? Do I give it some more time and see how it goes? Or do I try to keep him home healthy for now, and take him out of preschool? The reason I send him to preschool 2 half days is because I need a break. It gets very tiring taking care of such a active little boy.

What would you do if you were in my shoes? My husband is not the worrying kind , he says our son will be fine, and I on the other hand can't stop worrying :(

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks moms.... I need to stop worrying, I know . I will try my best...

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answers from New York on

He was a nice size when he was born and eno problems. That is wonderful.
When kids go to school or daycare, they get sick preemie or not. Going to a museum, zoo or library is very different from school. I also think you need to put the hand sanitizer away. It is being so overused by everyone. Kids needs everyday germs.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

my kids are full term.. but the first year they were in day care preschool.. they were sick all winter.. not critically ill.. but constant colds.. nose running.. I don't really think they even went to the dr.. but they were sick a lot.

the next year.. they were much better.

so this year my son started full day kindergarten and my daughter full day first grade.. and they were sick all winter.. influenza.. strep throat virus.. ear infection pneumonia....

Some folks say every time the kids change schools.. they are exposed to an entire new group of germs.. so they get sick a lot.

kids must be exposed to germs to build their immunity.. if you keep them home till they are 5 and go to kindergarten..then they will be sick a lot in kinder... so better to get exposed now.. and be absent for preschool than be sick and absent for kinder.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boca Raton on

Minority opinion here . . . my younger son never did stop getting sick. He went to daycare part-time, pre-K and school through 3rd grade - lots of illness. He was not a preemie either. Full term, large baby. I know you asked for preemie experiences, but your post rang a bell with me.

We finally pulled our son out of school half way through 3rd grade to homeschool. We started working on his health and came to find out that he was intolerant to 40+ foods, and that his immune system was a mess (to put it mildly). We changed his diet dramatically (removing gluten, dairy, soy) and cut sugar. We worked with a nutritionist and a couple of integrative physicians (MD's). We've done acupuncture more recently. Finally we started to get a handle on his health. He stopped getting sick every week. He stopped the strep throats. He stopped the vomiting. He stopped the random fevers and rashes (one of which got staph infected).

It was a long and tough road, but until we got away from the mainstream medical model we did not make any progress.

Today he is almost 16 - 6'3, pushing 6'4, and a black belt in karate. He is rarely sick, and we've been able to ease up on some of his dietary issues. He still does best on a whole foods, low sugar diet. He is still extremely thin. I thank God for how far he has come.

All I'm saying is to listen to your gut, and keep seeking answers if you are concerned about your son. Hopefully your doctor is right. I just wish that I had stopped listening to my regular ped a long time before I finally went outside the box. Our regular ped is a good guy too. The standard advice just didn't work for my kid. I think we are doing something in our environment with our kids that is making some of them very, very sick on a regular basis. The added germs from school just puts some kids over the edge. Luckily my son seems to have gotten past that now, and can be around groups of kids and people without any problems.


Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


TAKE A DEEP BREATH!!! Let it out slowly...

You are in hyper drive. STOP. Breathe. calm down.

My son was 6 weeks premature. thank God as he would have been a 10 to 12 lb baby - he was 6lbs 3 ounces. He was in the NICU for 10 days - bilirubin issues - all good.

He is getting sick because he is being exposed to germs. IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE. It has NOTHING to do with him being pre-mature - you NEED TO LET THAT GO!!!

You have said it yourself "he's an active boy" - OKAY - HE'S FINE!! He will be better. STOP. Let go of him being pre-mature. Stop blaming yourself for him arriving early. STOP.

If I were in your shoes? I would ENJOY the blessing that God gave me (and I do!! He blessed me with two boys that were early (my daughter was not). My oldest son was 6 weeks and my youngest was 4 weeks - and HE was the problem. HE FLATLINED IN MY ARMS on the day he was born. He's now 10 will be 11 in 6 short weeks. i don't fret about him getting sick. It's a fact of life. I do what I can to make sure my kids stay healthy.

I am NOT afraid of them getting sick. I refuse to live my life in fear. You need to stop living your life in fear. Really. STOP. Take a deep breath. Enjoy your son. Relish him growing up and being ACTIVE (your words) and STOP blaming yourself for an early delivery. Unless you were doing something you should not have been doing (running a marathon, riding a motor cycle or something like that) you have NOTHING to blame yourself for. SO PLEASE STOP!!! YOU CAN STOP worrying. YOU NEED to stop worrying!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My daughter was born at 4lb 4 oz, she has been going to MDO a few hours a week(where I work) since she was about 3 months. She is now 4.5 (weighs 26 lbs). She has never been sick besides a cold here and there so her size doesn't seem to affect her immune system. I am not saying to do this or not to do this bit just telling you what I do with my kids. I agree with a probiotic it could only benefit. Try to wash hands with plain soap as much as possible versus hand sanitizer. I'll use it if I must but when we're at the mall or zoo or whatever we walk to find a bathroom. That stuff is poison. So are some cleaners if you're cleaning like crazy to avoid germs at home try more natural stuff. Also with my kiddos I try to avoid giving them any kind of medicine unless absolutely necessary. If you don't give their bodies a chance to fight stuff off they can't get stronger. Personally I believe some people are way too quick to start their kids on whatever kind of treatment/medicine when it might not be necessary. The most important thing(to me) is diet. Lots of fruit and veggies, whole food, less animal products, water and less processed food. If it were me I would not take him out of pre school and build up his immune system unless your planning on homeschooling. Good luck

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

His birth experience has nothing to do at all with how often he gets sick at child care. Those kids are in close quarters for many hours per day. they bring in germs from lots of people they come in contact with outside the child care environment. They play with the same toys, they sit and sleep side by side. They do everything together. In play groups and other experiences they are not in such close proximity. SO he's going to get sick each and every time he joins a group for several hours per day.

You need to stop feeling guilty for something that was out of your control. You do sound a little over the edge about trying to keep him in that bubble for sure. So stop. The doc has recognized that you have this obsession and told you what to do.

Your child needs his immune system built up before he starts school. If he doesn't he's going to miss the first 3 months of school due to being sick. He'll get all those germs all at once and be really really sick week after week after week. If you had continued to work he would be past all this now. Just saying.....

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Listen to the doctor.My 7 year old was born 6 weeks early and at the time i was terrified.I put hand wipes all over her hands after she touched things in public.When she got the stomach flu,the doctor said "you need to stop cleaning her hands all the time.Let her touch things.maybe in days months or years,her immune system will get stronger"That was about 5 years ago and she is doing fine.She does not get sick that often as she did anymore.Your child will be fine.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I really think you need to give him more time. My youngest was 2 1/2 when I went back to work full-time, but just about every family I talked to said to expect him to be sick a lot that first year. Those who did not send their children to daycare or preschool said to expect a lot of sick days during kindergarten.

Playdates and toddler class help, but they are usually just for an hour. Going to school a couple of mornings a week is going to expose them to more germs.

I really think it would help if you stop sanitizing his hands after each playdate or class. You are effectively washing away any germs he was exposed to and thus preventing him from building immunities to them.

I know it's really tough for you. It's not easy to see our babies sick, and definitely not when you have already seen them in the NICU and suffering from RSV. Hang in there! It really will get better.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't have experience with this, but I would listen to your pedi. The immune system becomes stronger through exposure. He is right. Protecting your son from germs will actually keep his immune system from getting stronger.

Talk to your pedi and get more reassurance. Ask for ideas to help build up your sons wait. Try to teach him to use his arms to rub his eyes, face, etc, that's how doctors avoid colds. They don't touch their eyes/nose with their hands. That might help. Avoid the antibacterial stuff. It doesn't help anything and actually builds germs up.

I am more worried about the guilt you are crushing yourself with. If you can get therapy, please do. You need to stop blaming yourself for something that was beyond your control. The worry and the fear are not good for you. Please get some help and care for you so you can enjoy this time and not worry through it. Take care!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

This happens to full-term babies, also....

When they go to daycare or preschool, they are exposed to MANY more germs than they are in day to day life..... even though you take your son to other places, it isn't like handling toys directly after another child handled them, and stuff like that...

Parents often send their kids to daycare or preschool with "marginal" illnesses.... colds, runny noses, sniffles..... and that then exposes all the other children, also. When you take him places, you are probably monitoring him like a hawk, not wanting him to touch things, and washing his hands frequently. (That isn't a bad thing... just an observation.)

Your pediatrician is trying to get him already exposed to all of that stuff before he starts school, so he doesn't miss so much school when he does go.

I would keep having him go to preschool...

I can totally understand your concerns, though.... you've watched your son battle through many illnesses... and RSV isn't one to take lightly!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My twins were born at 27 weeks, weighing only 1lb 13 oz and the other 2lb 3 oz. One in NICU 2 months the other 3 months. With their birth being extreme prematurity I had to stay at home. Our ped told us the first 2 years would be critical for them if they got sick due to the prematurity.

Yes, your kiddo was born prematurely, but not enough that it would have that much of an affect on his immune system. It may contribute some, but it isn't the cause of all his sickness. Everyone has a different immune system and handles being exposed to things differently. We sent our kids to pre-school at 4 yrs old and yes all the way to 2nd-3rd grade, it seemed like they caught everything. They had the temp viruses, colds, ear infx, every fall and every spring both of them would get the stomach flu. No, it wasn't fun, like all of us their bodies had to develop immunity to all these new germs they had never been exposed too. They will be 13 in Sept and are very healthy now.

One of the best things for your child is a Probiotic. I wish I would have known this sooner, but....I started them on one 2 years ago and they have never been so healthy. 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut, so you need to keep that healthy and the way to do that is with a Probiotic. If you have a natural foods store near you, those are best, if not go ask any pharmacist what to use for your kiddo.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

My kids were not preemies, nor were they ever in daycare, but were sick often as toddlers and pre-schoolers. I made sure they were out and about and were exposed to everything. I took them to zoos and museums, playgroups and childcare at the gym. They had lots of colds, and got most of the childhood diseases (chicken pox, fifths, hand, foot and mouth, roseola, rotavirus, pinworms). By the time they started kindergarten they were sick much less often. By then they had developed immunity to most of the stuff that goes around, and even the colds they get now are much milder than when they were little. My older son has probably only missed two days of school due to illness and he is just finishing grade five.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My daughter was a preemie, she weighted 5lbs when she was born. She has never had issues with being sick. As a little one, I think she maybe had two ear infections. When she was 2yrs. old I put her in a preschool program that was run inside a daycare center. My daughter was rarely sick, even to this day (she is 9 now). Last year she had perfect attendance at school so besides the sniffle here and there, her immune systems fight off most "bugs" efficiently. I always worried about sickness with her having been premature, but I also believed that exposure to groups of kids was better for her as little kid vs when she started school. We have only ever used hand sanitizer when there is not an availability of soap and water, so not that often. I understand how frustrating it can be to always see your child sick, but often medicine and sanitizers are way over advertised. It may be hard but keep him in school, cut down on the sanitizer and only medicate when absolutely necessary. Our ped. says temp of 102 is okay and not to medicate, the body is fighting off the germ.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think you need to look into ways to strengthen his immune system because it sounds like he is getting sick too often. Look into supplements and also getting some weight on him through the use of coconut oil and butter to get him healthier. Stop with the hand sanitizer. Just wash his hands with soap and water. Clean your house with natural cleaners or just water. Also, start giving him a good probiotic.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

My son was born at 33 weeks. We were warned against putting him in daycare before he was a year old because of RSV specifically, so we managed to keep him home until then. Still when he entered daycare he got sick often throughout the winter, had several ear infections and bronchial troubles.

After the first year though, he caught the average number of colds like the other kids and as preschooler and elementary school aged kiddo he is rarely sick.

I always families that if they are putting their child in group care for the first time, their child will get sick. It's normal and good for them because it does build their immune system. It will happen if they go to daycare, if not daycare, preschool, if not preschool, kindergarten. It's much better for a child to miss care before kindergarten.

Having said that though, I am very aware of cleanliness in my daycare. There's a difference between a group environment where normal viruses go around and a dirty environment where kids are not practicing good handwashing and things are not cleaned properly. And I'm not a clean freak. I think germs are good up to a point. But there can be environments where kids get sick way more often than they should.

Keep him in preschool if you're happy with it, and just know that now that he's 3, he handles illness better and will be fine. And he'll be sick less often when he starts school... a big plus.

And if it helps at all... my little guy spent time in the NICU and his lungs were not ready to be out on their own. He had to learn to eat and all that good stuff that goes along with preemies. We got early intervention for some mild delays and he aged out of that at 3. Now at 7 (and before) he is a strong, healthy, brilliant boy. He's smart and does well in school and is one of the best on his baseball team. It's worrisome when they have such a rocky start, but in our case, you'd never know he was a preemie now.

Best of luck~

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

what foods does he eat at preschool just stuff you pack? and that he already eats at home? he might be gettting more milk at school making him phlegmy and causing troubles.

Molds and enviro chemicals can also cause a lot of trouble. and can trick people into thinking they are colds.

you might try switching pediatricians and finding someone that is willing to take a look at the whole picture.

my son was 4 weeks early and I know this sounds weird but my mil says my hubs always had a runny nose when he was cutting teeth even his bg kid molars and i hated to believe it but my kiddo also had a runny nose and the i would find out he had a tooth poking through way in the back even at 8 yo.

so i don't know what to tell you but i hope you can find some peace.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm not sure that his health issues are due to too much exposure. 2 half days of preschool shouldn't compromise his health. even if you don't send him to preschool, he's going to have to get out into the world, and that's really the best way to make him more robust.
i don't have a preemie, but one of my best friends had a little girl who was 3 months premature, 1lb 4oz at birth. after 2 years of challenges, including a tiny, tiny ileostomy, she caught up and is now a healthy, beautiful young mom of 2 boys.
i would listen to your pediatrician and your husband.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Our 5 year old was not a preemie, but he was born with a complex congenital heart defect. Common colds are really hard on his body, so I worry too. The past two years he was in preschool (2 or 3 mornings a week) and he was almost never sick. There were only 10 kids in his class and they all went home after preschool (no daycare), so that may have helped. His teacher was also aware of his health issues. I was particularly worried this year because he had to have 2 heart caths and he needed to stay as healthy as possible. I think he missed one day for being sick. Just be careful when choosing a preschool (maybe avoid preschools that are in a daycare setting). He will continue to build immunity:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had my first at 6 weeks premie (triplets). The largest was 4 lbs 6 oz. They went to preschool at 4 yrs old (nothing for the younger group that I could send them to near me). They caught colds and a couple of fevers, especially in the winter. But I would keep sending him to school. He will get stronger. I would look into some supplement though since he seems to catch anything and everything in the preschool setting. He probably gets sick more here since there is a longer exposure than other play settings.

I remember one of my nephews was always sick when he was little. The doc told me that he had to build his immune system. By the time he was 4, he was hardly ever sick unless something was really going around at school and day care.



answers from New London on

Could be mold/wet basement there or cleaning products that are harsh (to cause runny nose). Maybe the toys or tables are not cleanined well. Or that the other kids do not wash their hands often...And it could be a combo.

I always have probiotics in the house -- and stay away from dairy unless it's organic. I get the probiotics rec by a nutriotionist at a quality health food store



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter was not a preemie but she missed 38 days of school in 3rd grade due to sickness. She seemed to catch everything. Doc told me not to worry it was just a bad year. She was much better this year.
Listen to your doctor. daughter was slightly immune compromised. She had to get a booster of the pneumococcal vaccine.

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